WSJ Personal Journal: Reading with E-Readers


People who buy e-readers tend to spend more time than ever with their nose in a book, preliminary research shows.

A study of 1,200 e-reader owners by Marketing and Research Resources Inc. found that 40% said they now read more than they did with print books. Of those surveyed, 58% said they read about the same as before while 2% said they read less than before. And 55% of the respondents in the May study, paid for by e-reader maker Sony Corp., thought they’d use the device to read even more books in the future. The study looked at owners of three devices: Inc.’s Kindle, Apple Inc.’s iPad and the Sony Reader.

While e-readers are still a niche product just beginning to spread beyond early adopters, these new reading experiences are a big departure from the direction U.S. reading habits have been heading. A 2007 study by the National Endowment for the Arts caused a furor when it reported Americans are spending less time reading books. About half of all Americans ages 18 to 24 read no books for pleasure, it found . . . (more)

Shout-Out from the Atlantic Wire

I’ve been receiving some pretty incredible feedback since my Bubba ahed ran in the Wall Street Journal. One of my colleagues forwarded me this very flattering post from the Atlantic Wire. Here’s one of the nice things they said:

The community’s response, including 3 a.m. bear hunts, is as bizarre as it is entertaining, with Baca giving us such delightful details as, “The Bear League, a nonprofit bear-safety organization, says techniques like sounding air horns could be used instead of lethal ones.”

I’m feeling the love!

Lunch for the Tech Set

Less than a mile from Stanford University and Sand Hill Road’s venture-capital row, Cafe Borrone in Menlo Park offers diners the chance to people-watch everyone from tech financiers to start-up entrepreneurs.

Much of the crowd-scanning takes place from the café’s European-style patio with a large fountain in the middle.

“It’s like the technology piazza of the Bay Area,” says Ken Ross, founder of online business community ExpertCEO, based in Menlo Park. Cafe Borrone, he says, is the go-to spot for casual interviews and client meetings among the technology set . . . (more)

WSJ Front Page: Bears in Tahoe


INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev.—In hot pursuit of a notorious burglar along the shores of Lake Tahoe this year, Carl Lackey organized a night patrol to catch the perp. His tools included a fire extinguisher, pepper spray and two dogs that respond only to commands in Russian.

“These dogs were bred to hunt,” says Mr. Lackey, 45 years old.

Mr. Lackey’s nemesis: a 700-pound black bear dubbed Bubba.

The bear has been a longtime target for Mr. Lackey, a biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Recently, his quest search took on greater urgency . . . (more)

Judge to Allow Gay Marriage

Courtesy AP/
By Stu Woo, Marie C. Baca, and Tamara Audi

SAN FRANCISCO—The federal judge who struck down the ban on same-sex unions in California said that gays could start marrying Wednesday, unless a higher court steps in.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals could decide that Proposition 8, the 2008 voter-approved measure that banned gay nuptials in the state, should stay in effect while the measure’s defenders appeal the decision. The case is widely expected to eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court . . . (more)

SJC Airport Gets New Screening Machines

SAN JOSE—Later this month, the Transportation Security Administration will begin a formal testing period for a new baggage screening system at Mineta San Jose International Airport. The state-of-the-art baggage-screening system, made by Morpho Detection, could be rolled out to airports across the U.S. if the machines perform well.

The system is part of a federal initiative to replace older baggage-screening machines in U.S. airports with more efficient and accurate models. After a formal 45-day evaluation period, the agency will determine whether to purchase additional Morpho systems and at which airports they will be deployed, says TSA spokesman Nicholas Kimball.

National Story: SF Sting

Photo courtesy ICE

SAN FRANCISCO—Fisherman’s Wharf here has long been one of the West Coast’s major tourist destinations. Federal officials said Tuesday it also served as a major hub for the sale of counterfeit designer goods.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Department of Justice said they charged 11 people with trafficking in counterfeit items that were allegedly smuggled from China and offered for sale through eight Fisherman’s Wharf shops.

Officials said that they seized fake designer clothing, handbags, jewelry and other items with a value of nearly $100 million, based on manufacturer’s suggested retail prices, had the products been legitimate. The pirated goods sell for a fraction of the cost of legitimate ones . . . (more)

Small Business: It’s-It Ice Cream


BURLINGAME—A Bay Area company has retained a recipe for success in a sluggish economy: Take a scoop of ice cream, squish it between two oatmeal cookies and apply dark chocolate.

The It’s-It Ice Cream Co., named after the signature ice cream sandwich, says sales through June this year are up 15% from the same period in 2009, a year sales grew 8%. Charles Shamieh, its president, says the difficult economy might have actually helped sales of his flagship product, as cash-conscious consumers looking for a “cheap thrill” chose an It’s-It instead of a more expensive dessert. He says the company has been profitable for the past 20 years, though declined to provide revenue figures . . . (more)

WSJ Restaurant Review


A Slice of New York, in San Jose, is a Mecca for techies from the East Coast who are homesick for Big Apple-style pizza. Native New Yorker Kirk Vartan, a former engineer, says he grew tired of what he saw as overly complicated West Coast pies, so he opened a pizzeria that primarily features the ingredients that are familiar on the other coast: high-quality tomato sauce, mozzarella and flour.

“I just want to give people the type of pizza shop I grew up with,” he says  . . . (more)